UK Launches Revised Carbon Capture Program

Its first attempt at promoting CC&S was a complete bust

1 min read
UK Launches Revised Carbon Capture Program

The BBC reports that the British government is launching a revised program to encourage development of carbon capture and storage technologies (CC&S). It plans to dole out a billion pounds to selected projects, in the expectation that the CC&S industry will be delivering £ 6.5 billion in economic benefits by the end of the next decade. An earlier attempt at this kind of program was a complete bust,  with all nine initial contestants withdrawing their bids, most recently a project run by Scottish Power at its Longannet station in Fife.

According to the BBC report, sharply escalating costs of the proposed projects was the reason generally given for pull-outs.

The new program is somewhat broader than the first, in which only post-combustion carbon capture technologies were eligible. Now pre-combustion approaches also can qualify, notably oxy-combustion or oxy-fueling, a relatively dark horse technology that has been slowly gaining ground on the outside track. The Swedish national utility Vattenfall demonstrated oxycombustion at its Schwarze Pumpe lignite-fueled plant in eastern Germany, and last year the Department of Energy switched gears, picking oxycombustion for its proposed FutureGen demonstration, ditching IGCC, up to then the front-running technology.

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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